Let's eat Grandma.
Let's eat, Grandma.
"Hey, guess what."
"Yes, guess what!"
"Ok, I'll guess."
Without proper punctuation, this conversation would make no sense, and for a writer, it makes all the difference in the world.
Dear Mr. Moredock,
Language May be the single greatest invention humanity has come up with. It allows us to share our high level of intelligence with others. It is why things like fire and the wheel caught on. It is how we were able to sail across the oceans and walk on the moon. But language is a fluid idea. Look how many different languages there are, all of them started with a neanderthal pointing at something and grunting distinctly. Then another repeated the grunt and it became a word. Latin is a dead language, but not really because it birthed english, french, and spanish. Spanish birthed portuguese. French and english combined to make creole. How many other examples are there all stemming from that first word? Proper english may be dying and punctuation may be going with it, but nothing is forever. Change may be hard for you Mr. Moredock, but its why dinosaurs don't rule the Earth. The hardest things are the most necessary. I would have thought that you, as a writer, would appreciate the evolution of language more. How many times have you written about technology? Would the terms email or cell phone have meant anything to you or your readers thirty years ago? Ain't was not a word thirty years ago and it is not a word today, unless you talk to one of the three hundred million people in this country that use it. But if it makes you feel any better I did take a quick scan through this post for any blatantly obvious punctuation errors before I hit enter. I hope that I got most of them for you. =)
Did someone say strippers?
I consider myself somewhat of a grammar and spelling Nazi, but I don't lose sleep over the expression "Guess what?" It's kind of like we were told in school that "y'all" isn't a word, and neither is "ain't", but both are accepted parts of the southern vocabulary. Quite honestly I use all of these slang words/expressions in my writings. When it's done consistently and on purpose, I think it adds character to one's writing style.
I could not agree with you more, Mr. Moredock. I also am a teacher on the college level, and some days I worry about our future leaders, who seem to neither know nor care about analytical thought, much less proper writing skills. Not knowing the difference between a statement ("Guess what.") and a question (Can you guess what?") is the precursor to knowing not the difference between a fact and an opinion. I explain it this way to my students: strive for clarity and effectiveness. Sometimes, that comma changes the meaning of your sentence. ("We invited the strippers, J.F.K., and Stalin." vs. "We invited the strippers, J.F.K. and Stalin.") Once they catch up to what used to be eighth-grade English standards, then hopefully they will learn to appreciate the artistry of the written word.
Grammar is important, but so is not missing the forest for the trees. I'm more concerned with teaching clarity, paragraph construction, and varying vocabulary in my classroom than the sort of prescriptivist dogma that seems to bother Will here. Sure, "guess what" is used far more often as an imperative statement rather than as a true question, but I find it hard to believe that this "mistake" confuses anybody.
Love this article! The Kanye reference made me chuckle.
concur with the scentiment here, but you have to know when the currents of real change have truly drowned you out. i.e., SMH & I feel ya. :-)
I'm conflicted; should I give Will the benefit of the doubt that the grammar errors in this piece were intentional? Should I instead hound him?
No, for I will now propose a revised title for this column: "Old Man Yells At Cloud."
As a former newspaper editor and as a fluent speaker of the English language, I thank you for this column. The absolute worst is when I receive a mass email from some sort of campaign asking me for money and the campaign cannot bother to proofread the email.
Thank you for the reminder that writing DOES matter!
Awesome...couldn't have said it better myself?
Great article and thanks for the refresher on how to punctuate a command. I think I am guilty of this far too often. Reminds me of a road sign seen recently that was suggesting "sign up soon before it is to late"
where are all the people's comments? Thank you Will Moredock for your continued genuine history of this state which most racists keep forcing repeats upon us all... could you take a closer look at Ambassador West's footprints in Saudi Arabia? Inquiring minds need to know
The FCC has ruled that television stations must keep records on the purchasers, cost and frequency of political ads run, and to make those records available to the public. This provides transparency, and lets the public know exactly who is trying to influence elections.
Media Reform SC went in the front door of Fox 24 and requested those records. The staff at Fox 24 was extremely professional and provided all the documents in less than 15 minutes. We talked to sales staff NOT reporters, certainly not former reporters. "Angry Bird" is just wrong.
"Angry bird" (above) reports having heard that Media Reform SC has been "reaching out" to former Fox News employees. I'm a member of MRSC and nope, we've done nothing like that. We're a non-partisan group working for more objective, diverse and inclusive news media so as to better support the democratic system we all cherish. The more accurate the information we have, the better the decisions we'll make as a society.
Cheesy tabloids have exploited the dim witted since the advent of movable type, so nothing new with Fox News. The scary thing is, that a modern culture so awash in information is no more media savvy than 19th century sod busters queuing up behind the snake oil wagon. But unlike Orwell's vision, we have managed to dovetail propaganda consumption with consumer capitalism, so that money is changing hands and jobs are being created - which is good. Fox and the many other political entertainment outlets are on their knees nightly, praying to the spirit of P.T.Barnum that President Obama wins reelection, and the gravy train keeps on rolling.
Facts are available from numerous news sources. Anyone that needs another person on TV to "comment", "interpret", etc on said facts is stupid or lazy or both. This applies to both of the distasteful extremes we are burdened with in American politics today, obviouly.
Moredock the hypocrite. He must be for going after someone else's platform to spew slanted information when that's what he does here (god, I hope they don't pay him for this). This certainly underscores Liberal bs about tolerating opposing views and being inclusive. Moredock is anything but those things. How about we just leave the people with their freedom to choose their news sources. Be it, MSNBC, Fox, or The Daily Show. When we talk censorship (and it comes from the Left, like Willy here) then it's a bridge too far.
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